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New York Bans Flavored E-Cigarette Sales, Following Michigan

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An X-Ray of a person who vapes, showing the white cloud-like areas of lung damage usually associated with pneumonia, fluid in the lungs, or inflammation
Source: Sheila Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,'” nytimes.com, Sep. 11, 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a Sep. 17, 2019 ban on flavored e-cigarettes amidst a nationwide health scare among teens who vape. The Public Health and Health Planning Council voted on emergency regulations, and NY Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker will offer a recommendation on banning menthol flavoring within two weeks. The ban will be enforced starting Oct. 7, when retailers will face fines of up to $2,000 per unit of flavored e-liquid offered for sale.

Governor Cuomo stated, “New York is confronting this crisis head-on and today we are taking another nation-leading step to combat a public health emergency. Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we’re taking action to put an end to it.”

Owners of vaping stores in New York predicted that the ban will cause them to lay off employees and result in a rise of black market e-liquid manufacturing.

In July, Cuomo raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes from 18 to 21 beginning on Nov. 13, 2019.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a six-month ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes on Sep. 4 in an effort to curb teen vaping. The ban can be renewed for another six months, but the governor stated she hopes the legislature will take action: “As governor, I’m going to do it unilaterally until I can get the legislature to adopt a statute and write it into law. This is too important.”

The CDC has reported 380 confirmed or probable cases of lung disease and six deaths associated with vaping in 36 states and the US Virgin Islands as of Sep. 11, 2019. The CDC stated that all patients have had a history of vaping but the organization had not yet linked the illnesses to a specific product or substance. Chemical exposure, perhaps from vitamin E oil, is the suspected cause.

The main symptoms of the illness are fairly common: coughing, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, vomiting, fever, and fatigue. X-Rays and CT scans show that some affected patients have serious lung inflammation. Some patients have been admitted to intensive care and placed on ventilators to help them breathe. Most of the patients are young adults without other major health issues. “Many” cases have been linked to THC or CBD use in vape pens, according to the FDA and CDC, although some patients have reported using only nicotine.

The federal government is also taking action. On Sep. 9, 2019, the FDA sent a letter to Juul, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer, telling the company to stop advertising e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, stating the company had not demonstrated the claim with scientific evidence.

Health and Human Services Secretary and acting FDA Commissioner Alex Azar, JD, stated that the FDA would release new rules for e-cigarettes that, following a 30-day grace period, would effectively take all flavored e-cigarettes off the market until the manufacturers filed for and were granted FDA approval.

Juul released a statement on Sep. 11, 2019: “We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavored products. We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.” In another Sep. 2019 statement, Juul clarified, “JUUL Labs is committed to eliminating combustible cigarettes, the number one cause of preventable death in the world. Our product has always only been intended to be a viable alternative for the one billion current adult smokers in the world. We have never marketed to youth and do not want any non-nicotine users to try our products. We have launched an aggressive action plan to combat underage use as it is antithetical to our mission.” Studies have shown that vaping can help adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

 

Sources:

CBS Chicago, “Gurnee Teen Sues Juul, Gas Stop for Vaping Lung Damage,” chicago.cbslocal.com, Sep. 13, 2019

CDC, “CDC, States Update Number of Cases of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping,” cdc.gov, Sep. 12, 2019

CDC, “Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping,” cdc.gov, Spe. 12, 2019

Andrew Cuomo, “Governor Cuomo Announces Emergency Executive Action to Ban the Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes,” governor.ny.gov, Sep. 15, 2019

Jamie Grumbrecht and Jacqueline Howard, “FDA Warns Leading E-Cigarette Maker Juul about Its Marketing Practices,” cnn.com, Sep. 9, 2019

Sarah Jacoby, “5 Things We Still Don’t Know about Those Vaping-Related Hospitalizations,” self.com, Sep. 6, 2019

Juul Labs, “Statement Regarding White House Announcement,” juul.com, Sep. 11, 2019

Kaiser Health News, “As Deaths Related to Mysterious Vaping-Linked Lung Illness Continue to Climb, Here’s What You Need to Know,” khn.org, Sep. 9, 2019

Shiela Kaplan and Matt Richtel, “The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic,'” nytimes.com, Sep. 11, 2019

Angelica LaVito, “Michigan Becomes First State to Ban Sales of Flavored E-Cigarettes,” cnbc.com, Sep. 6, 2019

Laura Ly and Eric Levenson, “New York’s Governor Is Taking Executive Action to Ban the Sale of Flavored E-Cigarettes,” cnn.com, Sep. 15, 2019

Keiko Morris, “In New York, Gov. Cuomo Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes,” wsj.com, Sep. 15, 2019

Khristina Narizhnaya, Bernadette Hogan and Gabrielle Fonrouge, “NY Vaping Community Fumes over Cuomo’s Proposed Flavored E-cig Ban,” nypost.com, Sep. 17, 2019

Scott Neuman, “New York Set to Join Michigan in Banning Some E-Cigarettes,” npr.org, Sep. 16, 2019

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office, “Emergency Ban on Sales of Flavored E-Cigarettes in New York Approved,” jems.com, Sep. 18, 2019

Lisa Rapaport, “Vaping May Aid Smoking Cessation but Also Boost Relapse Risk,” physiciansweekly.com, July 15, 2019

Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein, “Trump Administration Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes,” cnn.com, Sep. 11, 2019



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